European Theater in World War II in The Mansion (Location)

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Europe in World War II
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Both Gavin Stevens and his nephew Charles Mallison spend time in Europe, Gavin as a doctoral student in Heidelberg before the First World War and Charles as a tourist in "Britain, France, Italy" (230) and especially "the Paris of Hemingway and the Paris of Scott Fitzgerald" (231) before the Second. In both cases "Europe" is defined the context created by those two wars; during Charles' travels, for example, he sees "too many soldiers" (231). Charles is also one of the two characters in The Mansion who serve in Europe during World War II. He flies over Nazi occupied territory as a bombardier until his plane crash lands and he spends the remainder of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp in Limbourg, Belgium, where the biggest threat turns out to be the weekly bombing raids by the Royal Air Force on a German "marshalling yard" next to the stalag (324). Colonel Devries is a white Mississippian who leads a unit of "Negro troops" (339). The description of the fighting during which his black troops display conspicuous valor and he himself earns the Congressional Medal of Honor is vague enough that it could be happening in the Pacific (339), but the reluctance of the Marine Corps, which handled most of the fighting in that theater, to use black troops in combat makes the European theater more likely. (In the short story "By the People" in which Faulkner first told the story of Devries' in battle, the fighting takes place during the Korean War.)

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Combat Zone; European City